Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) is a renewable energy company specializing in offshore wave power technology. OPT's PowerBuoy system extracts the natural energy in ocean waves and converts it to useable power, and is based on the integration of patented technologies in hydrodynamics, electronics, energy conversion and computer control systems. The PowerBuoy is a "smart" system capable of responding to differing wave conditions.
The PowerBuoy was deployed on December 14, 2009 off the coast of Oahu in water depth of 100 feet. The PowerBuoy has operated and produced power from over 3 million power take-off cycles and 4,400 hours of operation and is about 150 feet in length although most of the buoy is underwater. It can generate a peak of 150 kilowatts of power and feed the grid in waves between 4.9 feet and 22.9 feet.
In September 2010 OPT secured $2.4 million in funding from the US Department of Energy for development of PowerBuoy and completed the first-ever grid connection of a wave energy device in the United States at the Marine Corps Base Hawaii, in conjunction with the US Navy.
In October 2010 the US Navy awarded OPT $2.75 million in additional funding for a second stage under its existing contract to provide an autonomous PowerBuoy wave energy conversion system for the Navy's near-coast anti-terrorism and maritime surveillance program. This award followed the successful completion by OPT of the first stage of a four-year $15.0 million project for the US Navy's Littoral Expeditionary Autonomous PowerBuoy (LEAP) program.
In early November 2010 the company expanded its relationship with Mitsui Engineering & Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. with the signing of a new contract to develop OPT's PowerBuoy technology for its application in Japanese sea conditions. Under this new contract, the two companies are working together to develop a new mooring system for OPT's PowerBuoy(R), customized for wave power stations off the coast of Japan. The new system will undergo testing at MES's wave tank facilities to verify the results of extensive computer modelling. The company also plans to deploy the PB150 later this year off the coast of Scotland and also in a 1.5 megawatt wave energy farm off the coast of Oregon.
In January this year OPT achieved an independent certification for its PowerBuoy(R), the PB150, by the internationally respected Lloyd's Register. The certificate from Lloyd's Register confirms that the PB150 design complies with the requirements of Lloyd's 1999 Rules and Regulations for the Classification of Floating Offshore Installations at a Fixed Location. This provides independent, third-party assurance on the design of the PB150 PowerBuoy for its intended use, as analyzed against international standards.
Ross Wigg, Renewables Leader at Lloyd's Register, said: "Ocean Power Technologies is the first wave energy device developer that has approached Lloyd's Register for its assurance services. Our extensive experience in the offshore energy sector is critical to the fast developing offshore renewable developments and our certification of the PowerBuoy is a significant step for Ocean Power Technologies' product offering. It demonstrates their commitment to providing safe and efficient products to generate low-cost, clean energy." Wigg continued: "The process included detailed design analysis and appraisals, including the PB150's structure, hydrodynamics, mooring and anchoring."
Credit and top image: Ocean Power Technologies
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